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Haken - The Mountain CD (album) cover

THE MOUNTAIN

Haken

 

Heavy Prog

4.20 | 660 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

voliveira
5 stars 10/10

A perfect example of musical maturity.

"To us, 'The Mountain' is symbolic of our journey as a band, but also reflects the wider trials and tribulations of life. Lyrically, we've done a lot of soul searching which has given the album an emotional depth that we're sure listeners will really relate to, whatever personal mountain they are climbing. Musically, the new songs feel rawer and more emotional than anything we've created in the past. All the essential elements of our sound are still there but have been delivered in a more gritty and focused style. We've really pushed ourselves in all areas and truly believe that this album is a step up from any of our previous work..." Rihard Henshall, Charlie Griffiths

The Mountain is about all the ways a watershed for the Haken. In fact, I see it more as a confirmation of the promise that they appeared to be since it emerged on the scene of prog metal. Where many young bands and nothing much promtem meet, falling by the wayside or in the doldrums, they are getting their name in the pantheon of the genre displaying an incredible maturity and creativity for musicians so young. Without abandoning their influences, but at the same time reshaping itself and introducing new sounds.

While I've been a fan of Haken, my experience with this album was significantly different than the others. Where Aquarius presented a range of influences and was praised for its diversity, Visions was an album by metal-to-metal which had mixed impressions in me. The Mountain is easily superior to either. In fact I would say he stole the Shrine of New Generation Slaves's post of my favorite album of the year.

The truth is that I have liked the band, but did not follow the hype around it ... until you hear this album. The Mountain is perfect in all aspects, starting with the cover, which soundly beats the arts of previous albums. The mountain, the man with the stone trying to climb it, as in the Greek myth, reflect the album's concept: overcoming, challenging evolution. Is that Haken's doing with himself in this album.

The technical quality of the band members also deserves much prominence as it is one of the main factors by which they have been acclaimed. The highlight is definitely the vocalist Ross Jennings, which features a stunning evolution. Where the previous albums I considered his voice to be the weakest aspect of the band, here it is the strong point - or rather, the delicious vocal harmonies. From Gentle Giant-esque choirs for singing medieval harmonies there are several available. Keyboards Richard Henshall and Diego Tejeida noteworthy, since they are more diversified and present (just see the tons of piano and organ, as well as atmospheric elements). The guitars and drums need no comment. And Tom McLean, bassist, also has more prominence here - just watch her ​​work in Atlas Stone. It is sad to know that he left the band.

The album opens with The Path, which is a very short and introductory track, full of atmospheric elements and melodic singing, the harmonies accompanied by a single piano. It evolves to the majestic Atlas Stone, the first track released from the album. The music is a ride for all that Haken is able to do, "only" seven minutes: powerful vocals, themes assassins, use of non-Orthodox musical elements in metal (percussion, in this case) and everything. Interesting to see that there is no epic this album, but a steady flow exists between the songs that eliminates the need for an epic.

Cockroach King is one of my favorites here, and has been the band's most revered and critically acclaimed album. It is easy to see why: with its Gentle Giant-esque harmonies, strong use of jazz fusion combined with powerful and furious passages of prog metal, this is a music so diverse and insane that it's impossible not to love her. Add to that a fun clip inspired by Bohemian Rhpasody and the Muppets! It is followed by two shorter songs, but which are quite different: In Memoriam is the range more direct here, prog metal at its core combined with a piano that really reminds me of Muse, while Because It's There is a memorial track, opening with delicious vocals harmonies evolving to a section verse- chorus-verse-chorus accompanied by electronic effects.

Falling Back to Earth is the first semi-epic album, and has two distinct halves. The first section is a metal very aggressive, interspersed with some verses in a great jazz-fusion. It would just be a song from any metal if the second half was not a section very atmospheric and dark, where the vocals shine while the listener is taken through an experience out of the ordinary. The music returns to its heavy themes in the end, but stands by this duality. As Death Embraces is a short interlude, just voice and piano, a gorgeous interpretation by Ross Jennings.

Pareidolia is quite DT-esque, with riffs evoking the Middle East and remembering Home, from classic Scenes from a Memory. This was the second song I heard and with over 10 minutes of course I love her. It's probably the heaviest song on the album, although it has a kinda shady interlude where Ross Jennings takes the vocals. One of the highlights is what appears to be a bozouki solo, which really brings an interesting dynamic to this song quite pesadada. She ends on a quiet note, almost like a lullaby, which leads to the final track, Somebody. I really like it when after a great track climate album ends on a note softer, melancholy, and is exactly what makes Haken here. A sad and beautiful song, Somebody has melodious and melancholy voice, combined with a striking chorus that grows at the end, culminating in a huge climax where we have the presence of metals in a style quite Hans Zimmer-esque (more or less as the Inception soundtrack). A great track and I could not ask for a better end to an album so perfect.

5 stars.

voliveira | 5/5 |

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